Tuesday February 19, 2019
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India’s literacy rate lowest among the largest economies

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By Ramon Collado

As of 2015, the literacy rate in India is 72.1 per cent, which entails that over 300 million Indians do not have the ability to read and write. Interestingly, nations that compete with India in trade; services; and industry boast high levels of literacy among their populations—South Africa, for instance, accounts with a literacy rate of 94 per cent; Singapore 96.8 per cent and Taiwan 98.5 per cent. More importantly, China, India’s greatest competitor—India and China are the largest economies in Asia; only trailing Japan—accounts with a 96.4 per cent literacy rate.

With a population of over 1.2 billion, India, the 7th largest economy on the planet, may not be able to maintain a symmetrical pace towards economic development vis-à-vis its rival economies, due to its poor education expenditure; hence, India’s status as an economic powerhouse can turn into an ephemeral, economic boom. If India fails to increase its education expenditure; its economy will fall behind its competitors and slump.

The annual GDP (gross domestic product) of India is 1.8 trillion; however, only 3.9 per cent of it goes to the education system. Japan, a nation that has achieved economic development invests 9.6 per cent of its 4.9 trillion GDP. More specifically, when one compares India to Brazil—a proportional comparison as Brazil and India are similar economies; Brazil surpasses India’s investment with a 6.3 per cent education expenditure of its 1.8 trillion GDP.

India scored 37.8 out of 100—100 represents the best and 0 the worst—on 2015 Universitas 21 ranking of countries which are the best at providing higher education for their populations. India had the lowest score among the 10 largest economies on the planet—United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, India, Brazil, Italy, and Canada. It also scored lower than most of its economic competitors: South Africa (45), Indonesia (38.8), Malaysia (55.4), Mexico (41.7) Singapore (80.3), Taiwan (63.6), and South Korea (60.5).

Emerging economies like Kenya, South Africa, Malaysia, and Nigeria refer to human capital flight (brain drain) as a serious problem, India is not the exception. Human capital flight is caused by a country’s political instability, low education expenditure, low salaries, lack of job opportunities and other factors. Brain drain prevents nations from benefiting from its skilled professionals as they opt for more attractive career opportunities abroad—30 million Indians working for the developed countries are highly skilled. More notable, skilled professionals that work abroad may wind up working for the competitor which can affect the development of the economy of their country of origin—for instance, an Indian, skilled professional that moves to China for a better salary.

India must not ignore the pitfalls of its education system; therefore, it must increase its education expenditure. At this pivotal point for emerging economies—Brazil, India— seeking for economic development, skilled professionals make the difference due to the innovative contributions they can bring into a developing nation. Therefore, welcoming programs for skilled professionals that have left the country can mitigate the brain drain issue in India. Also, job opportunities; grants; attractive salaries; robust investments in higher education and research-oriented programs dedicated to increase the literacy rate, can contribute to the development of the education system simultaneously motivating skilled professionals to remain in the country.

India will not achieve economic development with a poorly educated population; on the contrary, as India’s competitors propel their education systems, and India’s education expenditure remains stagnant, its economic development will decrease while the economies of countries that are prioritizing education become more robust. India must increase its education expenditure in order to secure an elite-class of human capital, thus, steadily advancing towards economic development.

Collado is a graduate candidate in international affairs at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. The article was first published in The Hill.

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Flu Could Put You At A High Risk Of Stroke

The reason could be due to inflammation caused by the flu infection.

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In another study, the team from the varsity, found an increased risk of a neck artery tear after having the flu. VOA

Catching flu could put you at increased risk of stroke for up to a year, finds a new study.

Although the researchers are not sure the reason behind the association, the reason could be due to inflammation caused by the flu infection.

The finding adds to previous research which has suggested the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of a stroke.

For the study, the researchers from Columbia University in the US looked at the medical records of 30,912 people with an average age of 72 years who had been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke.

The findings, which would be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019 in the US, showed that people had a 40 per cent higher chance of having a stroke if they had been admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms within the past 15 days.

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For the study, the researchers from Columbia University in the US looked at the medical records of 30,912 people with an average age of 72 years who had been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke.

“The association occurred within 15 days. That’s important for people to know because if they get the flu, they want to be on the lookout for symptoms of stroke, especially early on after the flu,” Philip B Gorelick, Professor at the Michigan State University in the US was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

In another study, the team from the varsity, found an increased risk of a neck artery tear after having the flu.

Neck artery tears, formally called a cervical artery dissection, happens when one of the large blood vessels in the neck is damaged, causing blood clots to develop.

It is a leading cause of stroke because it affects the blood supply to the brain, reported Daily Mail.

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Influenza leads to serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, sepsis and heart disease, the study noted. VOA

The study, which will be presented at the same conference, found 1,736 instances of flu-like illness preceding cervical artery dissection.

Also Read: Higher Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables May Lower Death Risk in Dialysis Patients

“Cervical or neck dissections make up about two per cent of all strokes and up to 25 per cent of strokes in persons who are under 45 years of age. So this is specifically important to people who are in that under 45 age group, but not exclusively,” said Gorelick.

Influenza leads to serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, sepsis and heart disease, the study noted. (IANS)